Canadian Retailer - March/April 2010 - (Page 26)
On the journey to sustainability– What's your footprint?
Becoming more sustainable shouldn’t be an all or nothing commitment. We all have to start somewhere. And knowing how to identify your organization’s footprint and impact on the environment is a great first step.
BY ALEXANDRA LOPEZ-PACHECO
© I S TO C K P H OTO.C O M / S C H U LT E P R O D U C T I O N S
hen it comes to environmental stewardship, the retail industry has many shining lights, from industry leaders who are setting new environmental benchmarks, to small green retailers who paved the green way long before sustainability went mainstream. But for many retailers today, it can sometimes feel a bit like keeping up with the Joneses— when they don’t have the Joneses’ resources or expertise. Forget that. Each business’s environmental and carbon footprint is as unique as a person’s fingerprint—and so is each retailers’ journey and successes toward improved sustainability. Not every retailer can afford to follow the exact footsteps of the industry’s environmental stewardship leaders but then they don’t have to because their footprints are not the same. That said, the leaders have lessons and best practices to share that can be adapted to meet the needs, abilities and goals of other retailers. As David Labistour, CEO of longtime environmentally responsible retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op, puts it, “This is not just something we face individually. It’s something we face together and the more we work together, the more we can achieve.”
What’s your carbon footprint?
porate Responsibility for Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation, whose extensive commitment to the environment includes six stores built to The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and which was the first retailer in Canada to eliminate all plastic bags from its stores in 2008—the same year in which the company began a formal assessment of its environmental and carbon footprint. • Begin by researching which international standard you want to use to measure your footprint, says Perkins. This gives you a framework and guideline for measuring. “A lot of companies are members of the United Nations Global Compact, which is more about corporate social responsibility that doesn’t set out a lot of environmental stuff. The growing standard that seems to be used for measuring things such as carbon footprints is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI),” he says. Other standards include International Organization for Standardization (ISO), The Canadian Standards Association (CSA), The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) and The Institute for Green Business Certification, Inc. (IGBC), which has a Small Business Green Audit. Get professional help. This is the case for retailers of all sizes. Foodsmiths Inc., an independently owned natural food and grocery store in Perth, ON. with 30 employees, for example, had been taking steps towards reducing its footprint and improving efficiencies for years. It had started with small steps such as switching to energy-efficient lighting, and then
Calculating and understanding your retail business’s carbon footprint—the greenhouse gas emissions caused by your business’s activities—is a key first step. It helps you identify where you are now so you can set goals for where you want to be. Sounds simple enough but “it can be daunting,” says Rick Perkins, Vice President, Communications and Cor-
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - March/April 2010
Canadian Retailer - March/April 2010
In Your Interest
Environmental Sustainability: Back to Basics
Human Resources Supplement
What's Your Impact?
Greening the Industry
Canadian Retailer - March/April 2010